Beware; What follows is a journey of epic proportions. I put it together in case one day, my wanderlust were to take the better of me, and I were to leave without having time to warn anyone. Follow these detailed instructions, as they are your best chance at finding me again. And don't worry; It's nothing I haven't done before.
My advice would be to start in India. It makes sense since it's where I truly found myself for the first time. On a low class, vibrating train to Goa to be exact. You have to run to catch that already moving cart and middle-aged man smoking by the door will help you up. You will stare at the station behind you that is already to small to make it differ from any other train station in the country, so turn around and look at the horizon instead, and breathe in that warm, humid, spice filled air that makes India what it is. You will search for a specific bunk bed where once, on that exact train, I too raced through the southern morning like a a newly formed raindrop races to the earth. Amidst children sleeping their mother's arms and businessmen re-reading the documents in their briefcases, I looked out that very window, seeing a newly born world wake up.
If I'm not there perhaps Thailand is a good place to look next. You'll have to travel through it thoroughly, as I have. I could be in a movie theatre in Bangkok, where I once hid in the bathroom until the next film started so I could see two movies with one ticket. I could be drunk at the full moon party in Koh Phangang, so I really hope you won't see me there, or you might just pretend that we are strangers. You should also look in a rather mountainous path near Ao Nang, where it would take me two hours, quite a few bruises and the occasional snake encounter to get from one beach to the other. At midnight you might search among all the tourist, lying on carpets on the beach, beer in hand, just enjoying life. You'll lie down and listen to the Irish man with his guitar singing 'Hallelujah' and for that moment life will feel so beautiful all you can do is keep from crying. A part of you, the most spoiled, cynical part of your heart will begin to question everything it knows. everything its been taught to know. What till matter is that irish guy, the sand between your toes, all the stars that form your roof for the night and you will ask yourself how anything could ever be more important that night.
If I'm still nowhere to be found it's time to book a flight to Europe and try out and inter rail pass. Start in Spain. There is a rumor traveling through the hemispheres about an ancient route under the milky way, bursting with history and magical tendencies. Find 'the way' and walk until your feet are aching and bleeding and you couldn't possibly take another step. Only then will you stop and appreciate your surroundings; mountains made up of purple flowers and huge trees with top hats of powdery snow. Then you will meet them; The Pilgrims, or as I would call them; my family. They will help you take care of your feet and they will help you heal wounds you probably think are a permanent part of you by now. It might be difficult to part with these ideas you have of yourself, but they are persistent those pilgrim friends of mine and they will spend hours and days removing every salt grain from your heart until it stops bleeding. You will be shown a kindness you never knew existed. A kindness that doesn't expect anything in return except for your company. That particular road does end eventually and the people you have come to cherish as family will soon be scattered amongst the seven billion people who inhabit this earth, they will never truly leave you. Trust me. You will cry with them as you all attend the pilgrim mass in Santiago de Compostela and you will hear my voice shouting 'Buen Camino!'. But it's already been over a year since I left so you won't find me there. I don't think so at least.
Head east. To Paris; my first true home away from home. A city where a terrified sixteen year old girl once explored the streets in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and Simone de Beauvoir. It will be love at first sight. You'll stroll along the Seine and there is a chance i'll be sitting outside of the Notre Dame reading 'Les Miserables' accompanied by a street violinist and the clicking heels of Parisian women. You soak in history and art. You'll look into Mona Lisa's eyes and as I once did, ask yourself what she hides in that smile of lovers, secret keepers and adventurers.
Have you found me yet? Or are you already boarding the southern bound train ro Sainte Foy la Grande, where a once banished monk sought refuge? Maybe we all need refuge sometimes and I just took it to literally when I followed him there. You will walk through this bright green plum orchards and like Adam and Eva, you will taste the sweetest fruit you've ever eaten. You will head to the meditation hall before dinner where you will reflect and feel and cry and see old memories resurface. I hope you will take an extra day to meet sister Natasha or sister dedication, as she is known in the hamlets, because her laugh is infectious. And there, between those little houses, amidst the sunflower fields barely visible on a map, where people walk in silence and listen to the wind and give thanks to the earth you will find yourself laughing harder and purer than ever before in your life. I could be there, sitting under the big oak tree near the gift shop that spreads it's branches as wide as it possibly can as to protect anyone who might be seeking cover beneath it. Or maybe you'll just feel everything that I left there and understand why I had to move on.
At this point you will probably be a bit confused. How many hiding places could there be? You wouldn't know where to search anymore so you would do the only thing that came to mind. North. You will pass through Switzerland with its breathtaking mountains and valleys and realize that nature was the most talented architect all along. You will feel the life around you as you pass through Berlin and you will be reminded of how important it is to let all walls around you fall. You will keep looking ahead seeing the flat, green landscapes of Scandinavia approaching and you will fall in love with red little houses and blueberries. Or is it winter? If it is you will plow through those snow covered streets of Stockholm and maybe just a few of those billion snowflakes you see falling are landing on me at that very same moment. I could be right there, at my so called home. I could be at the pub, drinking wine with my friends, finally winning that pub quiz.
Or i'm not.
Then you would have to find another ticket, for another home. Somewhere in our big, scary, glittering, magical family of a world.
Welcome to Wildflowers & Wayfarers. A travel blog sharing adventures abroad from all corners of the world.
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